Golden State Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell is officially off the sneaker market. The 23-year old All-Star announced on Thursday that he signed an endorsement deal with Way of Wade, something that had been in the works for quite some time.
Way of Wade is retired NBA star Dwyane Wade’s sneaker line, through the Chinese sports apparel brand Li-Ning. They’re still very small, with their website only listing two NBA players as brand athletes: Wade’s longtime teammate with the Miami Heat, Udonis Haslem, and Russell’s Warriors teammate Glenn Robinson III.
Russell is clearly the largest signing for the brand (outside of Wade himself), so it’s a pretty big moment in the sneaker and endorsement market. And it appears to be because of Wade’s appreciation for Russell and his game.
The Warriors may have the league’s most diverse array of sneaker endorsements. While Nike claims the overwhelming majority of NBA stars, three of the Warriors biggest talents have opted for less-heralded brands. In addition to Russell and Way of Wade, Steph Curry is signed with Under Armour, and Klay Thompson is with Anta.
Assuming Russell gets a signature sneaker, that puts the Warriors at three signature sneakers, and none with Nike (or Adidas or Reebok). Draymond Green, it’s worth noting, has a deal with Nike, but not a signature sneaker (just as Robinson has a deal with Way of Wade and Kevon Looney has a deal with Anta).
We’ll see what impact Russell can have on the up-and-coming brand.